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Professional Development


     Today was my very first, post-certification professional development day.   It got me thinking about and redesigning my plans for teaching Chemistry – more about this in my previous post about the book.   I also got to spend the day with a teacher I met during my second student teaching placement who was the mentor teacher of Kristin.

     Of course, not having a job, I had to pay for it out of my own funds but this was offset by the door prize I won.  Well actually the teacher I was with won it but I traded her the frog model that I won and we were both happier.   I ended up with a Hardness testing kit complete with minerals.    Most people who know me know that I’m a total Earth Science fanatic (see posts here and here) but will probably never be able to teach it because I don’t have college credit – just life experience.    The minerals however will come in handy for teaching Chemistry.

     This post was a bit of a ramble but I am totally excited about this mineral collection!

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     I have started no fewer than a dozen reflections on my student teaching experience at a large urban high school.   I have not published any of them because I needed time to take a breath, process the experience, and gain perspective.

     I was fortunate to work with a terrific, supportive Master Teacher and wonderful students who I miss very much.   The experience was particularly beneficial because I taught Chemistry from a strictly conceptual perspective.   This is so far from my own experiences learning Chemistry that I could barely have imagined how to do this.   In these General Chemistry classes, math is minimized and this allows access to the subject for those students that do not have strong math skills.

     I wonder how many students, unless they continue in a science related to Chemistry, remember formulas, constants, and other knowledge that they do not use on a regular basis.  Conceptual Chemistry means that Chemistry is taught as a system, as part of life, as something that exists outside the Periodic Table of Elements on the wall and the bottles of chemicals in the back room.   It also means that more focus can be placed on the Nature of Science aspects of science learning including evaluating information from a questioning stance and the utility and limitations of scientific models.

     Perhaps I’ll add more to this later.  The experience was invaluable and I look forward to using what I have learned in my future practice!

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